May 15, 2024 - News

Belle Isle updates: Giant slide will return

Belle Isle

A misty morning by the entrance to Driker Trail on Belle Isle. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

The state Department of Natural Resources, which manages Belle Isle, gave City Council an annual update Tuesday on the island park's operations.

Our top takeaways:

🚶 The island saw a 7% increase in attendance last year, up to 5.6 million visitors from 5.2 million in 2022, the DNR said.

  • It reached full capacity only twice, which the DNR attributes to increasing entrance booth staffing, improved parking and bike lanes, and the new connection to the riverwalk.

💲 Since Michigan took control of the island in 2014, the state and other partners have spent more than $140 million on infrastructure and maintenance improvements. That includes $22 million in fiscal 2023.

  • This year, upgrades to 20 restrooms and shelters are expected, plus disability access improvements.

🤔 Council member Fred Durhal III told DNR representatives it's "concerning" that despite Belle Isle's popularity, it's not promoted through the state's Pure Michigan campaign.

  • Belle Isle is the second-most visited state park in the U.S. behind Niagara Falls State Park, per the DNR.

🛝 The giant slide that became infamous on social media is coming back after improvements, per the Detroit News.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.

More Detroit stories